So after finishing Lover Avenged by J.R.Ward I had to write the final part of my of my review and completely change my thoughts on this brilliant book!
This book has developed in respect to Wards earlier books in the series. I will admit that as much as I love the Black Dagger Brotherhood Series I was getting a little bored, the books became predictable in their story lines. Brother meets woman, falls in love, something happens or transpires to keep them apart, but love wins out. Yes, there was the battle with the lesser in the background, but that to me is background filling. I was worried that Lover Avenged would focus on one character Rehvenge and his quest for redemption and love. And I will let you know, this is a big part of the storyline. However, and this is a big one, there is so much more going on, that Ward has subtly managed to keep to the same script without me realising! Without ruining anything, yes this is the story of Rehvenge, but it encompasses so much more and the characters have truly developed. The story line with the lessers is finally going somewhere and I feel excited to know what is going to happen; Ward gives us insight into Beth and Wrath’s relationship that we haven’t previously got with any characters; John is developing brilliantly and in a realistic way which as the reader I can empathise with.
I feel that in these reviews I always end up admitting a lot, which I previously haven’t said, and that I know people will disagree with … I never liked Rehvenge. I had little interest in him, much like I have little interest in his sister Bella. Very few of the women have truly spoken to me in this series, and although I like Bella, once she went through her ordeal and got a backbone, she wasn’t someone who stood out to me (although I like her a lot more than some of the other women!) But, Ward has managed to make me fall in love with Rehvenge, hard and deeply. I adore the contrasts within him and his feeling of being unworthy and his desire for forgiveness is something that everyone can relate to. Although he is a Vampire/Symphath he is perhaps the most relatable and believable character that I have met so far.
The dichotomy that is inherent in both Xhex and Rehvenge is what I have come to love about these two characters. Unlike the Brothers who although are big bad men become softened by their shellens, they are never seen as ‘evil’ as they never fully embrace their darkness. Yes, the Brothers kill, but only lessers or in Zadists case his tormenter, never for sheer pleasure to feed their dark side. Rehvenge and Xhex however have this internal play between their Vampire and their Symphath sides, which is brilliantly played out and Ward never compromises one side for the sake of the other; instead she presents flawed yet likable characters whose struggle is relatable and endearing.
Overall I have loved Lover Avenged and what began with a shaky start has easily become one of my favourite books in the Black Dagger Brotherhood Series. One thing I will warn is that unlike some of the other instalments, you will have to read the next one, Lover Mine, for the conclusion of some of the storylines (I am reading this now!)